This is not a request for donations. I just wanted to let you all know what we have been doing to help mitigate some of the rising costs and preparing for the likely recession we are heading it to towards the end of this year/early next year.
It was a pretty tough time over the past few years with Covid, then the fuel price increases, and now the energy price increases. As of writing this inflation was just over 10%. Most of the costs associated with running the Charity have been creeping up over the past 5+ months or so, with the majority of costs increased closer to 100% rather the 10% from 12 months ago. Our insurance, petrol costs, electricity, and consumables have all risen with varying degrees, but the electricity is probably the most worrying right now. It has increased by 330% from 12 months ago.
It looks likely Ofgem are comfortable with continuing to protect the interests of the energy sector through further increases in the price cap (as the media suggests), and the energy companies will likely push bills to the maximum of each new price cap Ofgem increases it to. The underlying issue is not actually entirely to do with the amount of energy the Charity uses (or tries to reduce). It's more to do with the daily service charge which the energy company increases with each new price cap rise. This service charge is unavoidable regardless of energy usage, it's a fixed amount that is added to the energy bill. Even if we used little to no energy the bill would still be substantial.
We are reducing as much energy usage as we can but we have many essential electronics which need to be kept on. I had planned on moving the Charity completely over to solar electricity for a few years now, but this has not happened yet. However, we do run almost all lighting from solar power now (which in itself is awesome). Along with this, we also have a log burner and a decent amount of logs that came from fallen tree branches at the sanctuary. Heating is very important as during the cold winter season we need 24/7 heating for the overwintering underweight hedgehogs. So, lighting and heating running costs can be almost completely free. But, we do use mains electric for incubators, heating hot water, fans, fridge etc...
Fuel costs are still very high and although it rapidly increased in price over a short period of time (similarly to the recent energy price increases) to nearly double the amount, it is falling at a painfully slow pace, if at all. We need a rescue car so there is not much we can do save money there.
Covid was unexpected and the Charity suffered during this time with funds almost depleted at one point. The Charity received no financial help from the Government over the Covid period. Since then I have made a conscious effort to try and maintain a small emergency "buffer" fund for the Charity. This emergency buffer will provide a few months emergency funds from unexpected future global events or a financial crisis/recession. Having the emergency fund also means interest rate rises would have a small benefit for the Charity, should the Bank of England continue this trend going forward.
I'd like to thank you for all the amazing support we've received, you are directly helping to maintain and restore important local wildlife for future generations.
Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary (http://www.hwhs.org.uk)
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